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Morrisville State College opens another chapter in technology, pilots eTextbooks in the classroom

MORRISVILLE, NY—There won’t be any textbooks in Morrisville State College Professor Roberta Sloan’s Systems Analysis class this semester. They’ve been replaced with a lightweight computer tablet that’s putting learning within students’ touch.

The new Apple iPad2 tablet device is enabling them to access eTextbooks—a savvy new way to view text and other educational resources electronically without the bulk or cost of a textbook.

The technology was greeted with enthusiasm when it was distributed by the Morrisville Auxiliary Corporation (MAC) to 26 students in Sloan’s classroom recently. Students each received an iPad which will enable them to access eTextbooks and other applications, thanks to MAC which purchased the iPads for the pilot program.

“Morrisville is always seeking new cost-savings solutions for students as well as bringing them the latest technology,” said Shannon Richard, executive director of campus operations for MAC. “Someday, we may be loading all of their textbooks on a digital device rather than filling their backpack with printed books.”

“We are very excited about getting to use the iPads and exploring the innovative ways they can be used in the classroom,” said Sloan, associate professor of computer information technologies, whose class is the only one participating in the pilot.

Although none of Sloan’s students have his or her own iPad, each navigated comfortably through instruction and a tutorial led by Matt Barber, college network systems manager.

Classroom excitement spilled into conversations about the budget-friendly aspect of the technology which means students won’t have to reach in their pockets to cover the cost of a new textbook, a venture that could eventually bring down the cost of a college education.

“What I really enjoy is not having to buy the books, and not having to carry so many books,” said Zalathiel Figueroa, a computer information systems associate degree major from the Bronx.

“It’s going to be a great resource and we won’t have to carry so many books,” said Tara Reed, an information technology: application software development bachelor degree major from Madison.

“This will certainly mean less weight in my backpack,” said Derek DeGroat, a computer information systems associate degree major from Cazenovia.

Purchasing textbooks is a quandary some students have dodged in the past by buying a used textbook, borrowing a copy from a friend or the library, sharing with a roommate, downloading an illegal version, or going without.

The new digital devise spells out even more to students—they have access to additional applications that are available through the iPad, which is on loan to them until the end of the semester.

“There are so many things this college offers—a lot of technology that we can get our hands on for learning,” said Brad Shaver, an information technology: application software development, bachelor degree major from Queensbury.

The move is putting Morrisville ahead of the game in the classroom, giving students one more grip on technology and applied learning.

“These days you definitely have to keep up with technology and this will give us an edge,” Reed said.

“It is very important for my students to know and be comfortable with a wide range of technology,” Sloan said. “This is a certainly a great opportunity for students to learn and experience another one.”

In addition to dollar savings, digital textbooks offer the advantage of containing information that can frequently be updated while also giving students access to hyperlinks that direct them to even more sources of information.

“This is so cool,” Shaver said as he navigated through different sites on his new iPad. “I can click here to watch a video. A textbook just isn’t as interactive or exciting.”

Richard is equally excited. “We look forward to the feedback students will provide and what the future brings in digital learning.”

The new eTextbook technology is yet another chapter in Morrisville’s technological implementation. In 1998, the college pioneered IBM laptop computers in the classroom, later replaced landline phones in dorms with cell phones, then implemented the fastest wireless network in the world. Last week, the college also launched its mobile website, 

Morrisville State College sets the world in motion for students. Curriculums are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology. Lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs, the college was named to the 2010 President’s Higher Community Service Honor Roll. Visit to experience, Morrisville in motion.